Sign Senior Bibles

Even though we’re not able to have our normal senior recognition activities, we’ll still be providing seniors graduating in May or August with a bible signed by all of Wesley. To make sure your signature is included, simply use the form below by no later than April 30, 2020.

The deadline for signing senior bibles has passed.

Online Service Times Survey

Thanks for joining us for our first week of online services! As we finalize our plans for the rest of the semester, one of the biggest takeaways we’ve had is that the Zoom part of the service is a lot better if there’s a good group of people participating. So, we’d like your input on what times you’d be able to attend.

From the list below, please choose all times you’d be able to attend the Zoom part of the service. Times listed are for the start of the service, with the Zoom call starting approximately 45 minutes afterward.

    Please choose all service start times during which you could attend the Zoom portion of the service (which begins roughly 45 minutes after the start of the service).

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

Earlier on March 12, the University announced that Spring Break will be extended until March 30, at which time classes will resume via remote learning (read the full announcement here). Additionally, we announced that our planned spring break mission trip to Florida has been cancelled.

As previously announced, Bama Wesley’s facility will be closed beginning Saturday, March 14 for the break. Additional details will be announced the week of March 16 about the status of Bama Wesley’s programming and facility for the remainder of the break, as well as once the University resumes via remote learning.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

While there have not yet been any confirmed cases of the coronavirus/COVID-19 in Alabama, we anticipate that this is likely to change in the near future, particularly as students travel to and return from areas with more widespread cases over spring break. As we prepare for this eventuality, we wanted to share how Bama Wesley could be affected and the plans we have in place.

Actions Being Taken Now

  • We are ensuring that we have an adequate supply of items such as soap, hand sanitizer, and cleaning agents on hand, and that those items are effective against the coronavirus as determined by the EPA.
  • We are reinforcing proper handwashing and sanitation protocols, particularly with students and staff who participate in high-contact activities such as food preparation.
  • Students and staff who are considered to be at high risk for contracting COVID-19 according to CDC guidelines (including those who have or may have come into contact with an infected individual, or those who have traveled to an area with a widespread outbreak) will not be permitted to participate in high-contact activities for two weeks or until medically cleared.
  • We are actively encouraging students and staff who are ill for any reason to stay home.
  • We are implementing contingency plans to ensure that operations are able to continue to the extent it is possible to do so safely in the event that staff or student volunteers become ill or are quarantined.
  • We will be taking steps where appropriate to limit opportunities for the transmission of the coronavirus in activities such as communion.

Future Actions

In general, it is Bama Wesley’s policy to follow the guidance of the University of Alabama on issues of public safety, and we are in regular contact with University officials. In the event that the University cancels in-person classes or otherwise suspends operations, Bama Wesley’s facility will be closed and operations suspended. 

Intermediate steps to this will be determined on a case-by-case basis and may include suspension of large group gatherings such as meals and worship services, closure of Bama Wesley’s facility outside of scheduled events, and other actions as necessary.

Questions and Additional Information

Any changes in Bama Wesley’s operations will be communicated via email, social media, and Bama Wesley’s website. We also encourage you to visit the University of Alabama’s website about COVID-19, as well as other official channels, as we will follow their lead on any closures or other changes to operations.

For current information about COVID-19 and impacts in Alabama, we encourage you to consult the CDC, the Alabama Department of Public Health, and the University of Alabama. If you have specific questions about Bama Wesley’s planning and response, please email administration@bamawesley.org.

40 Ways to Pray for the 2019-2020 School Year

As we approach the start of a new school year, one of the most important ways you can partner with what God is doing through Bama Wesley in the new year is to join us in prayer for the year ahead. Beginning July 13 (40 days before classes begin), we invite you to join us in praying for students, the campus, and Wesley’s staff and leadership as we prepare for the year ahead. Below are some suggested topics, including a schedule of significant events to pray for during the rest of the summer.  

  1. Freshmen students
  2. Transfer students
  3. Returning students
  4. Graduate students
  5. Students who are away from home for the first time
  6. International students
  7. Students taking summer classes
  8. Faculty, staff, and students in the College of Arts and Sciences
  9. Faculty, staff, and students in the College of Communications and Information Sciences
  10. Faculty, staff, and students in the College of Business
  11. Faculty, staff, and students in the College of Education
  12. Faculty, staff, and students in the College of Engineering
  13. Faculty, staff, and students in the Honors College
  14. Faculty, staff, and students in the College of Human Environmental Sciences
  15. Faculty, staff, and students in the College of Nursing
  16. Faculty, staff, and students in the School of Nursing
  17. President Bell and others in the university’s administration
  18. Students living on campus
  19. Students living off-campus
  20. Other campus ministries at UA
  21. Students considering a change in major
  22. Students facing insecurity in their housing, food, and other similar circumstances
  23. Students facing physical or mental health concerns
  24. Students who feel lonely or isolated on campus
  25. Greek organizations on campus
  26. Other clubs and groups on campus
  27. Local churches who will serve college students
  28. Parents
  29. Students who will participate in a Phoenix, Ember, or Spark Group
  30. Bama Wesley’s worship services on Monday and Wednesday evenings
  31. Bama Wesley’s Worship Team
  32. Bama Wesley’s Fellowship Team
  33. Bama Wesley’s Discipleship Team
  34. Bama Wesley’s Outreach Team
  35. Bama Wesley’s Administration Team
  36. Bama Wesley’s Communications Team
  37. Bama Wesley’s Ministry as Career program
  38. Bama Wesley’s Interns and student staff
  39. Bama Wesley’s Executive (Pastoral) Staff
  40. Week of Welcome

Significant Events

While everything listed above can (and should!) be prayed for during the summer, there are some significant events between now and the first week of classes that you may want to consider praying for specifically.

DateEventPrayer Focus
July 15 – 16Bama Bound SessionFreshman and Transfer Students
July 17 – 18Bama Bound SessionFreshman and Transfer Students
July 22 – 23Bama Bound SessionFreshman and Transfer Students
July 24 – 25Bama Bound SessionFreshman and Transfer Students
August 7 – 9Early Move-InStudents participating in early move-in activities
(Sorority Recruitment, Million Dollar Band, Alabama
Action, Outdoor Action, Health Action, Camp 1831,
Biology Boot Camp, student athletes)
August 13 – 15Wesley Intern RetreatWesley’s staff and leadership
August 14Bama Bound SessionFreshman and Transfer Students
August 15Bama Bound SessionFreshman and Transfer Students
August 16Bama Bound SessionFreshman and Transfer Students
August 16 – 18Move-InStudents who will live on campus
Parents
August 19 – 23Week of WelcomeWeek of Welcome
Freshman and Transfer Students
Wesley’s staff and leadership
August 21First Day of ClassesStudents’ first day of the new year
August 23 – 24Back to School RetreatStudents Wesley has reached during Week of Welcome

Lenten Fasting

For 40 days (excluding Sundays) before Easter, the universal Church observes the season of Lent. During this season, we remember Jesus’ 40 days of prayer, fasting, and temptation in the desert before beginning his earthly ministry, and are ourselves reminded of our humanity and our need for God’s grace in our lives.

Throughout history, Christians have used the season of Lent as a time of fasting. Throughout scripture, the discipline of fasting has been used in a variety of ways: for discernment, for repentance, as a sign of grief, and as an expression of devotion to and dependence on God.

What is fasting?

At its most basic level, fasting is the discipline of giving something up in order to deepen our relationship with God.

The purpose of fasting, then, is twofold. First, fasting is a reminder of our utter dependence on God. When we fast, we are reminded of Jesus’ words that “People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God” (Matthew 4:4 CEB). In fasting, we are reminded that it us ultimately God, not what we eat, drink, or do, that is the source of life.

Secondly, fasting is a process of self-examination wherein we examine our lives to identify the things other than God that control us. Oftentimes, we have to give something up in order to recognize just how fully it controls and directs our lives – give up social media, for instance, and you’ll quickly realize how often you pick up your phone to idly scroll through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. A major goal of fasting, then, is to identify these things and remove them from our lives as a reminder of how ultimately insignificant they are.

Types of Fasts

Dietary Fasts

Most instances of fasting found in scripture are dietary fasts, where we fast by making some type of change to our diet. Often, dietary fasts are most effective when the time that would otherwise be used preparing and eating a meal is instead devoted to prayer and the study of scripture.

There are three main types of dietary fasts:

  • Total Fast: A total fast is the most intense form of fasting, and involves abstaining from all food and drink for a period of time. Historically, total fasts have only been used in extreme circumstances where there is a dire need for God’s presence and intervention in a situation.
  • Water-Only Fast: Water-only fasts are just that: abstaining from all food and drink other than water for a period of time.
  • Partial Fast: Partial fasts cover a wide range of practices, and involve the removal of a particular food (or type of food) from one’s diet for a period of time. What will be most effective will vary between individuals, but some of the most common popular options include alcohol, meat, caffeine, sweet/sugary foods, soda, and fast food.

The Wesley Fast

The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, famously had a weekly fasting discipline where he would engage in a water-only fast from sundown Thursday through midafternoon Friday (and, for a period, sundown Tuesday through midafternoon Wednesday), even going so far at one point as to require this practice of clergy serving under his authority. If you’ve never tried fasting before, this may be a good way to begin, and regardless of your experience with fasting can be a beneficial addition to your personal discipleship whether for a season or indefinitely.

An important note about dietary fasts: While fasting can yield significant spiritual benefits, you should only do it if you are healthy enough to do so. In particular, total and water-only fasts should be limited, generally only to a day at a time. It’s worth noting that even in scripture, there is only a record of extended total or water-only fasts by those such as Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. If in doubt, and especially if you are considering a longer total or water-only fast, seek the advice and supervision of a medical professional.

Non-Dietary Fasts

Non-dietary fasts are those in which we give up something other than food, typically a particular activity or behavior. This may be for health reasons, or it may be due to our own self-examination and recognition that our relationship with God will be deepened more by abstaining from something other than food.

Effective non-dietary fasts will vary from person to person, but as a general rule whatever you give up should be something you will feel the absence of on a regular basis. Some ideas include:

  • Video games
  • Social media
  • TV/Netflix
  • Eating out
  • Spending money on particular things such as clothing, or more broadly spending money except on essentials such as food and gas

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, and you may well find that something else is more beneficial to deepening your relationship with God.

“Positive” Fasts

Though not truly a fast as found in scripture or church tradition, so-called “positive” fasts may still be beneficial for some. In positive fasts, one adopts additional spiritual disciplines and practices rather than giving something up. This may include extended daily time in prayer and the study of scripture, serving in the church or the community, or increased financial generosity.

Things to Remember when Fasting

  • Fasting should be sacrificial. Fasting is designed to involve an element of sacrifice, and should be felt on a regular (ideally daily) basis. If you don’t play video games, for instance, fasting from them isn’t going to be much of a sacrifice.
  • Fasting is not designed to be a diet or a self-help program. While there may well be some health and other such benefits to fasting, that is not its primary goal. Likewise, fasting is not necessarily the time to give up bad habits that we should rid ourselves of anyway. Rather, the goal of fasting is a deeper relationship with God by identifying and removing the things in our life other than God that control us – even things that aren’t inherently bad but are nevertheless distracting.
  • Remember Jesus’ words about fasting. In Matthew 6, Jesus offers some instructions about how to fast: “And when you fast, don’t put on a sad face like the hypocrites. They distort their faces so people will know they are fasting. I assure you that they have their reward. When you fast, brush your hair and wash your face. Then you won’t look like you are fasting to people, but only to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
    When we fast, our goal is not to gain the approval of others or to engage in an outward sign of piety. Rather, our focus is on God, and we trust that when we fast God knows it without us proclaiming it. So, for instance, if you’re going to fast from social media, don’t make post about what you’re doing: just sign out, delete the apps, and let that be that.
  • Consider what you’ll do instead of what you’re giving up. Fasting is most effective when we replace what we’re giving up with something that directs our focus back toward God. When fasting, consider using the time that you would have spent on what you gave up in prayer, the study of scripture, acts of service, or something else that focuses your attention toward God.
  • Be flexible. Remember that we are saved by grace and faith, not our actions. Fasting isn’t a way to “earn” our way to salvation, but rather is a way of making our prayer life and our awareness of God’s voice more effective. In that spirit, don’t get so caught up with the act of fasting that you forget why you’re doing it in the first place.
  • Make a plan and stick to it. As with any goal, fasting is most effective when you’ve already thought through how you’ll respond to the inevitable temptation to break the fast. Feeling the urge to get back on Facebook just to see what notifications you’ve missed? Call up a friend and see if they want to hang out. Up late studying for an exam and wanting to go by Starbucks just this once? Swing by Wesley and make yourself a cup of coffee in the Keurig.
  • Invite others to hold you accountable. While in fasting our goal is not to publicize what we’re doing publicly, there’s a difference between “showy piety” and accountability. Share your fast with some others you trust and invite them to hold you accountable to it (protip: if you’re in an Ember or Phoenix Group these are great avenues for this).

Want to read more about fasting? Here are some additional resources: